It has been just over a week since the Baltimore Ravens hoisted the Lombardi Trophy and won their second Super Bowl title in franchise history with their 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49'ers in Super Bowl XLVII, but the front office staff and coach John Harbaugh are already looking forward to the 2013 season and are facing some tough decisions.
Later this offseason, we will break down who Baltimore should keep and let go in regards to their free agents, but before we do that, we have to inform you who those players are heading into this offseason.
Unrestricted Free Agents:
Baltimore has the opportunity to re-sign any of the 13 following unrestricted free agents before they are free to sign with any other team on March 12 at 4:00 p.m.:
QB Joe Flacco
S Ed Reed
LB Paul Kruger
LB Dannell Ellerbe
OT Bryant McKinnie
CB Cary Williams
DT Ma’ake Kemoeatu
S James Ihedigbo
S Sean Considine
TE Billy Bajema
DT Ryan McBean
LB Ricky Brown
CB Chris Johnson
Obviously the first and foremost issue that will need to be resolved is Flacco, Baltimore will need to get his deal done as quickly as possible to know how much salary cap room they will have in pursuing their other free agents or outside free agents.
Restricted Free Agents:
The restricted free agents below have accrued three years of service and have expiring contracts. Baltimore has to tender each with a restricted free agent offer, but other teams may then sign that player to an offer sheet. If and when that happens, the Ravens have seven days to match the offer and keep the aforementioned player. If Baltimore chooses not to match the offer sheet, they would receive compensation based on which tender was initially offered to that player.
There are three different tenders that can be made: a first-round tender (estimated $2.88 million) would award the competing team’s first-round selection, a second-round tender ($2.02 million) would award the competing team’s second-round selection, and a low tender ($1.32 million) would award the competing team’s draft selection equal to the round in which the player was originally chosen. Need an example? Here you go, a restricted free agent selected in the fifth round would be worth a fifth-round pick if given the low tender. If a player went undrafted originally and is given the low tender, Baltimore would simply hold the right to match the offer and would not receive any compensation if they elected not to match a competing offer.
The original round in which each player was drafted is noted in parentheses:
TE Dennis Pitta (4th)
DT Arthur Jones (5th)
TE Ed Dickson (3rd)
LS Morgan Cox (undrafted)
WR David Reed (5th)
OL Ramon Harewood (6th)
S Emmanuel Cook (undrafted)
Exclusive Rights Free Agents:
These players have less than three years of accrued service and must be tendered a contract for the league minimum based on their length of service in the league. If tendered, these players are not free to negotiate with other teams.
LB Josh Bynes
LB Albert McClellan
RB Anthony Allen
RB Damien Berry
RB Bobby Rainey
LB Adrian Hamilton
DT Bryan Hall
S Anthony Levine
S Omar Brown
Confused yet? Don't worry, as now you undoubtedly understand why the front staff makes the money they do and you now also understand how many decisions they will have to make this offseason. Luckily for Baltimore, they have a guru at GM in Ozzie Newsome and Ravens fans should rest assured that this front office staff is and will make the right decisions for this football team.
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